Thursday, 16 July 2009

Body by Science Session 6: Did My Vibrams Affect Leg Press?

Location: Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Date: 16th July

Sixth BBS Big 5 session:

Week 7*Week 6*Week 5Week 4Week 3Week 2Week 1
Seated Row120
Chest Press95
Overhead Press60
601:37601:49601:37601:38601:4480, 700:35, 0:25
Leg Press300
2903:242802:12260-2503:02230, 2704.312002:57

TUL = Time Under Load; Red = got worse; Blue = improved; Black = weight changed

Post Workout Nutrition: scrambled organic eggs + strawberries + cinnamon, one hour later.

Total Time: 25 minutes.

I was only 6 days since the last session this time, but I did feel rested nevertheless.
Shoulders Problems
I am making nice progress on the pulling exercises, as you can see, but shoulders continue to be a problem. I can't get past the third rep, and suspect that I improved TUL last week by doing the movement more slowly. Next time I will get my training partner to ease me through the sticking point, the see whether the following week I improve the unassisted time.
Vibram Five Fingers
I still haven't cracked the leg press. I though I was approaching the right weight for the 90-120 seconds BBS sweet spot, but it all went wrong this time. During the set I found myself wondering if I was ever going to fail.

Two possible reasons:
  1. I think I got the seat setting wrong - so the range of movement was less, which would make it easier.
  2. I was wearing my Vibram Five Fingers for the first time. I noticed my calf muscles were hit much harder than usual, so perhaps my quads were getting more assistance?
Mountains and Swims
It will be 12 days before the next session because I am going on holiday to the Pyrenese. I hope to return with photos and tales of mountain excursions and wild early morning swims.


Dennis said...

the VFF would change something if you were using a running type shoe vs a flat soled shoe, but for the better. it may have been the seat setting.

Bryce said...

It's really easy to UNDER estimate how strong your legs are, especially when there's no technique involved in the movement (i.e. leg press).

I noticed that I was initially less strong in the deadlift with my vibrams, but I think it's because I no-longer was benefit mechanically from having my heal elevated from the sneakers. The movement feels certainly better now, and I am catching up to where I was in loading.


Don said...

regarding the overhead press, two ideas:

1) since the chest press is progressing, this will make it harder each time to progress on overhead press, since chest press works the same muscles.

2) I suspect you have found te upper limit of your "signature" TUL for overhead press. I suggest you try adding 5% to the resistance next time, and see if you can get at least 60 seconds TUL.

Most people have a mixed muscle fiber type in upper body muscles, warranting a TUL of about 50-70 seconds. Many people have a predominance of slow twitch fibers in thigh, hip, and leg muscles, warranting a TUL of 90-120 seconds. So I suggest you reduce your TUL one upper body movements to about 60 seconds, and see what happens.

Methuselah said...

Thanks for the thoughts everyone. On hols with crappy phone only but will reply properly when I get back!

Methuselah said...

Dennis - I certainly was using a running-type shoe previously - at least an inch on the heel, probably more like 1.5. I will be changing the seat setting for session 6 to see what happens.

Bryce - there is definately an element of underestimating leg strength... also the fact that of all the exercises, leg press is the one where the pain threatens to make me stop before failure. And I am not a person who normally shirks pain! Now that I am getting used to that pain, I am reaching perhaps what is perhaps my real strength on this exercise.

Don - thanks for those tips. The next session will be without my training partner so I may in fact mix things up by having much less rest between sets. However, I will keep your 5% increase idea in reserve for when my partner returns and I am back to the same rest period - so that I can make a valid comparison to previous efforts (especially since OH press is the last exercise and therefore most impacted by less rest!)